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Christmas Characters – The Innkeeper

Discussion in 'Thoughts for Today' started by anthony wade, Dec 20, 2012.

  1. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. – Luke 2: 6-7 (NIV)

    The beauty of Biblical interpretation! Never has so much been written about someone who is never mentioned by name, and is barely referenced but one time in all Scripture. The innkeeper at the Bethlehem Holiday Inn. The guy who had no room for God. The heartless man who cast the baby Jesus into the cold and dank manger to be born. I also read an analysis heading in the opposite direction, where this fellow is just misunderstood and was probably helping Joseph and Mary. Linguistic gymnastics aside, let us stick with what the Scripture says and interpret from there what could have been and more importantly how it applies for our lives today and the lives of those who have yet to place their faith in this child in the manger.

    Taking Scripture at its word, the key verses simply states that there was no room for Joseph and Mary at the inn. While we may not have plentiful details it is safe to assume that it was quite busy at the inn that day. A full house meant every room filled. Every guest with one complaint or another that the innkeeper had to deal with. Remember, the Bible says right before the key verses that they had to go to Bethlehem because a census was called for by Caesar Augustus. Joseph and Mary were hardly the only people looking for a room that night. The first lesson for us today is that we cannot allow the busyness of life to allow us to not see God before us. I know that might be a little hard on the innkeeper but remember - this is for the purpose of edification! The truth is that for those who do not know Christ as Lord, you can almost sense the busyness sucking the life out of them. We live in a competitive, dog eat dog world. The career we hold often becomes our self-image. Usually when someone is asked to say something about themselves they start with what their job is. As long as there are no major catastrophes most would probably say they simply do not have time for God! Even when saved, a great many people try to squeeze God into their busy lives instead of making their life about Christ. Simply put, there is no room for Him at their inn.

    Even as believers we too can fall into the same type of distractions. Realize that this is spiritual. The enemy is constantly finding new and innovative ways to distract the body of Christ. Even with things that may seem to have a righteous cause to them. There is a war on Christmas!! No there isn’t. There is a concerted effort from Satan to convince us that there is and that we should be really upset with the very people we are supposed to bring the Gospel to! Instead of wrapping our arms around people we wrap our doctrine around them before they can even have a chance of understanding it. What did Jesus say about being persecuted?

    “You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’and hate your enemy.But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! – Matthew 5: 43-44 (NLT)

    The sad truth is we do not understand what true persecution means. We think when the world doesn’t want to be forced to say a prayer before school starts that our faith is being persecuted. We think when the world doesn’t want the Nativity scene in the local Wal-Mart that Christianity is under attack! Try living in China where you have to worship underground and maybe persecution will become better defined. The things that we think are persecution in this country are merely distractions used by the enemy to add to our busyness until there is no room for Jesus at our inn.

    The next lesson we can glean from the infamous innkeeper is to avoid one of Satan’s favorite distractions – money. Where do we see money in this story? Everywhere! Again, the census resulted in a surge of people coming into Bethlehem. This surge was so strong that there was virtually no room left! The Inn must have been making a pretty penny during the time. Money has a habit of blinding us; it becomes all we see. Forget the poor pregnant woman, I’m making a fortune! Similar to the lesson on busyness, money often is what prevents the unsaved from coming to the cross. Jesus knew this when He addressed the rich young ruler. You can hear the arrogance coming from this man as he tells Christ that he has never broken a commandment. The more successful we are in the world, the more we are inclined to think we are a self-made man. The harder it becomes to start to think that maybe God deserves the credit!

    Likewise, in the church we also see money have the same affect on believers. We too are prone to this distracting attack from the enemy. In the Book of Acts we meet Simon the Sorcerer. He meets Phillip and the Bible says that he was saved and followed Phillip everywhere. He was a believer. But then Peter comes to visit and Simon sees Peter lay hands on people who then receive the gift of being baptized in the Holy Spirit. The lure was too much for Simon:

    When Simon saw that the Spirit was given when the apostles laid their hands on people, he offered them money to buy this power. “Let me have this power, too,” he exclaimed, “so that when I lay my hands on people, they will receive the Holy Spirit!” – Acts 8: 18-19 (NLT)

    We need to be vigilant against the lure of power and money, lest Jesus walk right on by us and we barely notice! The last lesson for today is to not judge people based upon appearances or social status. Once again, maybe a bit unfair to the innkeeper but not out of the realm of possibility. Perhaps there really was still room at the inn but the innkeeper saw the low social status of Joseph or the embarrassing condition of his unmarried betrothed and thought he could do better. There must be a better clientele available, certainly a richer clientele than this carpenter and his young, pregnant – not quite wife. Better that they be sent off to the manger, where no one will see them. If we are not careful we can do this too with our Christianity. Maybe our faith is the best kept secret in our office. Maybe we hide the Jesus in our lives in the manger while we walk in this world. Jesus doesn’t want to be just the Lord of your manger but of your entire inn! There is nothing He wants kept from Him.

    The greatest Christmas present of all history lay in that manger that night. God’s gift of His only begotten Son to a fallen and sinful humanity. Few would take notice. The innkeeper shuffled them off to the manger – no room for you tonight. No room for the King of Kings. No room for the Lord of Lords. No room for the Prince of Peace. What is vying for your attention today? What is squeezing Jesus from preeminence to the manger in your life? The place no one can see anyway. What is distracting you from realizing that your Savior is here right now? Is your career or job becoming larger than life and taking up too many rooms in your inn? Maybe your pursuit of money has drowned out your ability to see and hear from God. Maybe our concern about how others would react to our faith has caused us to hide it away in the manger – nothing to see here! Whatever it is, God is always willing that we correct our mistakes. But we have to see Jesus as He is. We have to recognize Him when He is before us. We must make room in our inn.

    Rev. Anthony

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